Thank you for contacting me about the CANZUK movement.
Leaving the European Union has provided us with the opportunity to develop an independent trade policy for the first time in over 40 years. This will involve strengthening our already considerable trade and investment ties with like-minded countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
I am very pleased that the Government intends to negotiate ambitious new free trade agreements with both Australia and New Zealand. The UK shares a Head of State, a language, a common law system and a common set of values with Australia and New Zealand, as well as strong people-to-people links. Like the UK, Australia and New Zealand are members of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance and the Five Power Defence Arrangement. Department for International Trade (DIT) Research also indicates strong public support for free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.
The UK, Australia and New Zealand are of course important economic partners too. Indeed, UK businesses traded £21 billion worth of goods and services in total with both countries last year and analysis by the DIT shows that the value of UK exports to Australia and New Zealand could rise by approximately £1 billion through new trade deals.
Among others, drinks companies, the automotive industry and professional services firms are expected to benefit from the removal of barriers to trade with Australia and New Zealand.
I further welcome that the Government has confirmed its intention to pursue accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Canada, New Zealand and Australia are CPTPP signatories. It is encouraging that all CPTPP members have welcomed the UK’s interest in accession.